Evaluation of the 'Veginvasion' resource to increase consumption of vegetables in Primary School Children
(2015) Evaluation of the 'Veginvasion' resource to increase consumption of vegetables in Primary School Children, no. 31.
Introduction: Despite recommendations, current national statistics show that children still regularly fail to meet the '5-a-day' target, with consumption in Scottish children even lower than that of the UK average. Intakes of vegetables have been highlighted as being particularly low, despite the strong evidence supporting the health benefits related to both fruit and vegetable consumption. Aim: To evaluate the impact of 'Veginvasion' on primary school children's knowledge, likes and dislikes with respect to vegetables and vegetable consumption and to assess the teacher's perspectives on the resource pack. Setting: St. Gabriel's R.C. Primary School, Prestonpans Method: Primary 1 school children, aged 5-6 years (n = 25), were given information sheets and consent forms to obtain parental consent to participate in the present study. A 10-item questionnaire was given to pupils, who had obtained parental consent (n = 20), to complete. The questionnaire was given to pupils once before and, again, after 'Veginvasion' had been taught. Questions were asked by means of both pictures and writing and were related to the vegetables mentioned within 'Veginvasion'. Teachers also received a questionnaire, on completion of 'Veginvasion', to assess their ideas and opinions on the effectiveness of the resource pack. Differences in mean scores between the initial and concluding pupil questionnaires were determined, for both genders then separately for each gender, using a paired t-test. The significance level was set at p < 0.05. The qualitative results from the teacher questionnaires were analysed separately. Results: Overall, significant increases in knowledge, taste and preference scores were highlighted for 4 out of 8 vegetables: leek, beetroot, rhubarb and spinach (p < 0.05 for all). No statistically significant changes in knowledge scores were seen for females when data was analysed separately for each gender. Significant alterations in taste scores were only seen for leek (p = 0.02) and spinach (p = 0.002) in males and for leek and beetroot (p = 0.01 for both) in females. Statistically significant differences in preference scores were seen for rhubarb (p = 0.009) and spinach (p = 0.002) in males and for leek (p = 0.02) and beetroot (p = 0.05) in females. Discussion: The findings of the present study highlight 'Veginvasion' as having a positive influence on the knowledge, likes and dislikes of the primary school children surveyed, in regards to vegetables and vegetable consumption. This modern resource pack is an easy, practical and enjoyable way of educating primary school children about vegetables. The current evaluation of 'Veginvasion' has also shown the resource pack to have good potential in encouraging increased consumption of vegetables in primary school children. Key words: Veginvasion, diet, evaluation, children, school, vegetables